UPDATE: Questions remain in fatal Durham crash Dying man in Durham crash: ‘Tell my family that I love them’

Editor’s note: On Oct. 13, 2016, the Maine State Police investigation concluded that the pickup truck was driven by Brandon Harthorne. Jeremy Reardon was seated in the front passenger seat, and Malakai Cawood was a backseat passenger. Reardon was not driving the vehicle. The cause of the crash was attributed to human error.

DURHAM — Two men were killed and two others were hospitalized after a pickup truck and dump truck collided Wednesday morning on Route 9, according to state police.

Killed in the crash were Malakai Cawood, 21, of Limington and Brendon Harthorn, 24, of Cornish, Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Stephen McCausland said in a news release.

The crash was reported at 7:15 a.m. at Route 9 and Runaround Pond Road. 

According to a resident in the area, the pickup truck traveling on Runaround Pond Road failed to stop at the intersection and collided with a dump truck. The pickup caught fire almost immediately and a short time later burst into flames.

The two passengers in the pickup were ejected on impact and died at the scene. People at the scene pulled the pickup’s driver from the burning vehicle moments before it exploded.

The driver, Jeremy Reardon, 35, of Buxton, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center by LifeFlight. He was listed in fair condition Wednesday afternoon.

Clifton Larrabee, 42, of Durham, who was driving the dump truck, was taken to Maine Maine Medical Center by ambulance, according to McCausland. Larrabee was listed in fair condition Wednesday afternoon.

The dump truck is owned by Larrabee Construction of Durham. All three men in the pickup were employees of Plowman Construction of Gorham and were headed to a job site in the area, according to police.

Maine State Police Sgt. Kyle Tilsley said the dump truck was traveling south on Route 9 down a sloping hill when the pickup pulled into the intersection from Runaround Pond Road. The full-size club-cab-style Chevrolet pickup hit the dump truck broadside.

The dump truck, which was not carrying a load, swung completely around before tipping on its side just off the road past the intersection. The impact of the crash also swung the pickup around, tossing debris from inside the truck across the intersection, including breakfast bags, coffee cups, water bottles and trash. A couple of bags of concrete stored in the bed of the truck were split open from the crash, spilling concrete yards away.

The impact also peeled the hood off the truck, tossed a tool storage box in the truck bed across the road and knocked the truck’s engine into the cab. It also scattered a hard hat and a number of construction signs in the bed across the intersection.

Emergency personnel from multiple towns responded, as did representatives of the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection.

The bodies of Harthorn and Cawood were removed at 10 a.m. and a state police reconstruction team started work shortly after that. Members of the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit were also at the scene to investigate the Larrabee truck.

Route 9, Runaround Pond Road and Rabbit Road were closed for most of the day.

One MDOT employee at the scene said he often travels Runaround Pond Road at the same time as the crash, in the same direction the pickup was traveling, and the morning sun can be blinding.

“I can’t see a thing,” he said, as others standing there agreed.

This is the second serious accident in this area in the past four weeks.

On Aug. 27, Hailey Bouchard, 26, of Brunswick was traveling on Rabbit Road toward the intersection of Route 9, also known as Hallowell Road, when she lost control of her car just before coming to the stop sign. It rolled over into a ditch and she was ejected.

She was flown to Central Maine Medical Center with serious injuries.

Dennis Leavitt, who lives two doors away from the intersection, said the newly paved surface of Rabbit Road and Runaround Pond Road has encouraged people to drive faster.

“Now people are going by my house at 70 miles per hour and jamming on the brakes” at the stop sign, he said.

Before the road was paved, potholes had kept traffic under the posted speed limit, which is 40 mph, Leavitt said.

A number of neighbors commented about the excessive speed along the road and the need for two LifeFlight evacuations within the past month.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: